HUDSON OAKS, Texas – Once again, Nextlink Internet is among the top participants in the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) efforts to close the digital divide.
In the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction which closed in December 2020, Nextlink Internet was named a provisional winner of $429.2 million in federal support over the next 10 years to bring high-speed Internet service to more than 206,000 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Nextlink has taken strategic steps to prepare for meeting RDOF obligations, including its rapid expansion across America's Heartland under the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction; its investment in the FCC's Citizen's Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) airwaves auction; and its recent agreement with American Tower Corp. to access 1,000 additional structures for accelerating deployment into more rural areas.
"Nextlink is working to give rural Americans greater access to the digital economy," said Bill Baker, CEO of Nextlink Internet. "Since participating in the CAF II auction process and accessing the first of our federal funding approximately 18 months ago, we have expanded operations across the Midwest. As we continue that expansion with a combination of both wireless and fiber technologies delivering download speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to a full gigabit, we look forward to continuing our operational focus on tremendous quality of service along with a satisfying customer experience."
"Our long-term, strategic approach and accelerated results over the past two years have set the stage for us to become the top internet service provider in small towns and rural areas across America's heartland," Baker added. "We've become a fully IP-based, carrier-class network from core to edge with extensive fiber and wireless infrastructure, serving 70,000 customers, with more than 600 team members intensely focused on rural broadband development."
"We're just grateful for the opportunity to bring critical internet infrastructure enabling economic development, home-based employment and learning, precision agriculture, and telemedicine to more and more small towns and rural communities," Baker said.
In support of Nextlink's ongoing growth and expansion and its participation in the CAF II and RDOF programs, the company is pleased to also announce a new $250 million credit agreement led by the BMO Harris Bank. "BMO is excited to partner with Nextlink and support them as they execute on their RDOF and CAF II awards, providing high-speed broadband to underserved areas across the United States," said Greg McCollum, Director - Fort Worth Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group. "Nextlink's history of growth and execution has been impressive, and we look forward to being a part of the company's future growth and expansion."
Ted Osborn, Nextlink's SVP of Strategy & Regulatory Affairs, said Nextlink filed more than 4,000 pages of technical details with the FCC last week in support of its RDOF participation.
"The FCC's rural broadband funding programs are working," Osborn said. "The diligent, bipartisan work of FCC commissioners and their experienced staff over the past six years to forge innovation in broadband delivery through market-based competition and capital efficiency is now bearing fruit in America's Heartland," Osborn said.
More information on the RDOF auction can be found here: www.fcc.gov/auction/904, including complete auction results and a map of winning bids.